From new friends, opportunities, and lessons, 2022 has been replete with things that have been humbling, rewarding, and exciting to say the least. Each year is not without its own set of challenges, however, but the challenges this year seemed noteworthy. Conversely, there has been an anthology of insight garnered from different perspectives that I'm nothing but grateful for.
But first, some context that should offer some insight on why I decided to blog now. In the end, it's nothing short of "just because." I figured the longer I kept putting it off the more likely it'll never be anything that materializes. Having gone through half of the year seemed as appropriate of a time as any, so here we are.
The beginning of the year seemed like a perpetual high of meeting and getting to know people. I know the introverts might not be able to relate, but humor me for the length of the article.
I would eventually discover that these like-minded twenty-something-year-olds held the same values with the same coincidental interest in hobbies. The 62-mile, hour and a half drive out became a little bit more bearable knowing this was what awaited me.
To take a few steps back, it's worth noting that I would never have met any of these people if not for a good friend of mine who has since moved to a different state. I still think it's crazy how this year has transpired into what it is and for that, I thank the sovereignty of God.
Our common hobby was climbing so that was immediately what everyone resorted to. The gym we all went to holds a long history of conversations, sends (the word used to finish a boulder problem), and injury after injury. What started out as a flurry of climbing-related activities very quickly turned into late-night café study sessions accompanied by talks on life—the ones that usually only happen at 1 am.
The non-exhaustive list of people I met were lawyers, doctors, and people who had no particular career—people who were just going with the flow (I use doctors and lawyers as caricatures of what it means to not have time. I also met a lot of people in this profession—more than I ever expected to). The most enjoyable thing about being an extrovert is experiencing the high that was a result of conversations that were had. However, this year, my intent was a little more pointed in that beyond just looking for a certain connection with friends, I was looking for perspective. It's so easy to live in a bubble where the only things that are apparent are the values and perspectives that you hold.
It was in these conversations that I felt my perspective was challenged. Being introduced to a large pool of people who come from different cultures and backgrounds with different interests was as humbling as it was exciting. I knew these challenges to be healthy because of the axiomatic view everyone shared regarding the Word. These individuals served as a haven to talk about subjects such as dating, career, and more contentious subject matters such as politics. Whenever someone celebrated, we all celebrated and if someone hit a particular bump in the road, we suffered with them. A friendly culture grossly understates the ethos of this friend group.
I would be a little bit more committed by joining bible studies, worship nights, and the like. These involvements would only lead to a deeper connection with people as I was able to peer into what their lives looked like outside of a workday.
Five months later and I still keep in touch with everyone and still hang out here and there. I was fortunate to have been able to meet everyone at a time when their schedules were more forgiving but I realized early on that that would not be the norm. The lawyers I've met have what seemed to be a negative balance on the amount of time they had every day and the same went for the doctors I had the privilege of getting to know.
What was vocal during this realization, though, was the intent people had in fostering a friendship. To no fault of their own, some people just did not have the luxury to go out in the same capacity as before. Nevertheless, people made time to hang out, and being someone that appreciates intentionality, this was something I appreciated a lot.
During these five months, as I was auditing my pool of friends and how much it's changed, I realized I've all but neglected a handful of people; much older friends (it's worth noting that I also became increasingly busier this year as I took on two more jobs). I decided to reach out and while some were willing to make time and get açaí bowls, others were much less willing to do so. In this life stage, it's hard to blame people for choosing the latter because it is an investment of time after all—a non-refundable currency.
To the people who graced me with their presence, it was great catching up—seeing how much you've grown, and hearing about how well you're doing was both a blessing and encouragement. The conversations that were had have never been more appropriate to have and it was comforting to be able to share struggles with a number of you whom I have genuine trust. Being vulnerable with a few of you gave me insight and direction about my stage in life. Moreover, you showed me new ways to push my life forward which broadened my otherwise tunnel-visioned goals. And to the people who were under the unrelenting pressure of finals and exams, the effort to get together does not go unnoticed and I hope you killed those exams.
In conclusion, this year has been humbling in that God has shown me, through people, though not exclusively, that I know literally close to nothing. Conversations had with new friends and old have been incredibly insightful in my personal life. It's been a rewarding year so far, in that I have such a broader network of people who are grounded in Scripture that I can trust and lean back on if life ever gets too burdensome. Lastly, it's exciting because if the first half of the year transpired the way it did, I wonder what more 2022 has in store.